Weekly Health Update
“The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart
and head and hands, and then work outward from there.”
~ Robert M. Pirsig
Mental Attitude: Can Computer Use Help with Seniors’ Memory?
A new study suggests that seniors who use computers as little as once per week may help ward off commonly observed age-related declines in memory and thinking. According to the study, researchers found that seniors who used a computer during the previous week had a 42% lower risk of developing mild cognitive impairment, a condition that places an individual at greater risk for more severe forms of dementia. While it isn’t clear to investigators how computer use may help protect one’s memory, the researchers believe that being engaged, challenged, active, and mentally stimulated can lead to a healthier brain.
American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting, April 2016
Health Alert: Daylight Savings Linked to Increased Risk of Stroke.
Finnish researchers have found that changing the clock forward or back leads raises an individual’s stroke risk. The team analyzed data from 3,033 men and women hospitalized during the week after a daylight saving time transition and found that the overall rate of ischemic stroke was 8% higher during the first two days after the time change than in subsequent days. Author Dr. Jori Ruuskanen explains, “We know from previous studies that stroke risk is highest in the morning hours and daylight saving time slightly shifts the timing pattern of stroke onset. Previous studies have also shown that the disruption of the circadian clock due to other reasons (e.g. due to rotating shift work) and sleep fragmentation are associated with an increased risk of stroke.” Further research is needed to confirm the findings, but the team believes the results are convincing.
American Academy of Neurology’s 68th Annual Meeting, April 2016
Diet: Choose a Healthier Lunch.
Lunch is important for keeping you full and focused during the day. To eat a healthier lunch, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests the following: choose a salad dressing with an oil base instead of a cream base, include as many veggies as possible, and choose a small, healthier appetizer or split an entrée with someone else if eating at a restaurant.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, March 2016
Exercise: Dance Class Benefits Older Latinos.
A small study involving 57 older adults has found that classes in traditional Latin dance may help older Hispanic adults become interested in exercise and improve their mobility. After four months of dance classes, researchers found that participants were fitting more activity into their daily lives and were more nimble on their feet. A larger trial is now underway to assess the longer-term effects of Latin dance classes on older adults, including any mental benefits. The researchers say that the “bigger picture message” is for older adults to find activities they actually enjoy so they’ll stick with them.
American Heart Association Meeting, March 2016
Chiropractic: How to Reduce Standing-Related Back Pain…
For those whose jobs require them to stand on their feet, a simple stretch can cut the risk for back pain by as much as a third. In this study, participants stood for two hours in two sessions one week apart. During one of the two sessions, they bent all the way forwards for five seconds every 15 minutes. During the other session, they refrained from any stretching. The participants were 36% less likely to report back pain following the session that included the forward-bending stretches than when they stood still for two hours.
Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, April 2016
Wellness/Prevention: Low Vitamin D Associated with More Aggressive Prostate Cancer.
New research suggests that prostate cancer may be more aggressive in men who are vitamin D deficient. Researchers studied nearly 200 men with prostate cancer and found that those who had blood vitamin D levels below 30 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) were more likely to have rapidly growing tumors than those with normal vitamin D levels. Dr. Anthony D’Amico, the chief of radiation oncology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston believes the results are important enough to spur further study into the possible connection between vitamin D and prostate cancer.
Journal of Clinical Oncology, February 2016
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